What was Flarf?

A Jacket 30 Special Feature

Flarf Blender
Flarf Blender

From Gary Sullivan’s Introduction in Jacket 30:

Flarf has been described as the first recognizable movement of the 21st century, as an in-joke among an elite clique, as a marketing strategy, and as offering a new way of reading creative writing. The act of writing flarf has been described as collaborating with the culture via the Web, as an imperialist or colonialist gesture, as an unexamined projection of self into others, as the conscious erasure of self or ego. Individual members have been described as brilliant, lazy, and smug, as satirists, fakes, and late-blooming Dadaists. One anonymous reader posting in someone’s blog comments box suggested that I be thrown into a wire cage at Bagram.

Very little of the discussion has dealt in any significant way with the work itself. While the collection that follows can hardly be called representative of five years’ of collective activity, it is hoped that it may provide a small window for anyone curious about what the Collective has been up to.

[»»] Gary Sullivan: Introduction
[»»] Anne Boyer: Three Poems: A Vindication of the Rights of Women / Mom’s Undiminished Lamb Jacket / Everything Nice Has a Crafted Satin Finish

[»»] Chickee Chickston: Three Poems: My Mary Oliver / Truckin’ Poem / My Kangaroo
[»»] Jordan Davis: Three poems: On an 87 Ford Taurus Left Taillight / Poems About Me / Pablo Escobar Shopping T-Shirt
[»»] Katie Degentesh: Three poems: I Loved My Father / No One Cares Much What Happens to You / I Sometimes Tease Animals
[»»] Benjamin Friedlander: Three Poems: Galang / Why Do Jews Reject Jesus as Their Savior? / When a Cop Sees a Black Woman
[»»] Drew Gardner: Three poems: I Am «So» Stupid / Norman Mailer / Dividing My Time
[»»] Nada Gordon: Three poems: Abnormal Discharge / Lick My Face / ‘A Gumby episode’
[»»] Rodney Koeneke: Three poems: The Adorno Corollary / Europe. Memory. Squid Parts. Grace. / Otto of Rose and Lavender
[»»] Michael Magee: Two excerpts: from My Angie Dickinson / Fascist Fairytales #6
[»»] Sharon Mesmer: Two poems: Juan Valdez Has a Little Juan Valdez (i.e., Energy Cannon) in His Pants / Squid Versus Assclown / At Princess Olga’s
[»»] K. Silem Mohammad: Three Poems: ‘The swans come hither in great numbers’ / Goldmine / Anti-Ass
[»»] Rod Smith: Three poems: What’s happening to My Bottom (part 3) / What is Happening to My Bottom? (s’appelle Charles the Bald) / The Exposition of the Question of the Meaning of Being
[»»] Christina Strong: Two Poems: Don’t prufrock me! / You need a valium (or «bored with blogs»)
[»»] Gary Sullivan: Two plays: Gray Matter / PPL in a Depot
[»»] Tarzan: Tarzan Workshop